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Abell, Arunah Sheperdson (1806-1888), journalist and publisher  

Joseph P. McKerns

Abell, Arunah Sheperdson (10 August 1806–19 April 1888), journalist and publisher, was born in East Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Caleb Abell, a quartermaster in the War of 1812, and Elona Sheperdson. Abell left school at age fourteen and worked for two years in a shop that dealt in West Indian goods. In 1822 he was apprenticed to the ...


Adams, Franklin P. (15 November 1881–23 March 1960), newspaper columnist, humorist, and radio personality  

Robert L. Gale

Adams, Franklin P. (15 November 1881–23 March 1960), newspaper columnist, humorist, and radio personality, was born Franklin Pierce Adams in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Moses Adams, a dry-goods merchant, and Clara Schlossberg, both German-Jewish immigrants. During his childhood he was an avid reader of the classics, history, nineteenth-century fiction, and light verse. He studied mathematics and science at the Armour Scientific Academy in Chicago, graduating in 1899. He attended the University of Michigan for less than a year, during which he studied literature and after which he began to earn his own living....


Adams, Samuel Hopkins (1871-1958), muckraker and writer  

Samuel V. Kennedy

Adams, Samuel Hopkins (26 January 1871–16 November 1958), muckraker and writer, was born in Dunkirk, New York, the son of Myron Adams, Jr., a minister, and Hester Rose Hopkins. He attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, from 1887 to 1891, with a semester at Union College. After graduation he was a devoted alumnus, serving as trustee (1905–1916), winning election to Phi Beta Kappa (1907), and receiving an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1926....


Agee, James Rufus (1909-1955), writer  

William Stott

Agee, James Rufus (27 November 1909–16 May 1955), writer, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Hugh James Agee, a construction company employee, and Laura Whitman Tyler. The father’s family were poorly educated mountain farmers, while the mother’s were solidly middle class. Agee was profoundly affected by his father’s death in a car accident in 1916. He idealized his absent father and struggled against his mother and her genteel and (he felt) cold values. “Agee’s mother wanted him to be clean, chaste, and sober,” the photographer ...


Cover Agee, James Rufus (1909-1955)

Agee, James Rufus (1909-1955)  


James Agee Photograph by Walker Evans, 1937. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103100).


Allen, Young John William (1836-1907), missionary, educator, and journalist in China  

Adrian A. Bennett

Allen, Young John William (03 January 1836–30 May 1907), missionary, educator, and journalist in China, was born in Burke County, Georgia, the son of Andrew Young John Allen and Jane Wooten. Because of the early death of both parents, Allen was raised by an aunt and uncle, Wiley and Nancy (Wooten) Hutchins, who lived in Meriwether County, Georgia. He received a sizable inheritance from his father, which financed his education at several small private schools near his home in Starrsville, Georgia, including the Baptist-run Brownwood Institute in LaGrange, Georgia, and the Morgan H. Looney schools in Palmetto, Georgia. His inheritance also allowed him to collect a personal library, which made him the envy of his classmates as early as 1850, when he was only fourteen years old. He began college work at Emory and Henry College in Virginia in 1853 but transferred to Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, in the spring of 1854. At Emory, Allen acquired the secular learning of the European tradition as well as knowledge of Christianity. His extracurricular activities included membership in a debating society and religious study groups, both of which prepared him for his subsequent careers in China....


Alsop, Joseph (1910-1989), journalist  

James L. Baughman

Alsop, Joseph (11 October 1910–28 August 1989), journalist, was born Joseph Wright Alsop V in Avon, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Wright Alsop IV and Corinne Robinson, wealthy farmers. Both parents claimed distinguished bloodlines. Corinne Robinson Alsop’s uncle was Theodore Roosevelt; her cousin was ...


Alsop, Stewart (1914-1974), political columnist  

Ann W. Engar

Alsop, Stewart (17 May 1914–26 May 1974), political columnist, was born Stewart Johonnot Oliver Alsop in Avon, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Wright Alsop, an insurance executive, and Corinne Douglas Robinson. His father was a member of the Connecticut legislature for many terms and a public official. His mother, a niece of ...


Alvarez, Walter Clement (1884-1978), physician, medical researcher, and medical columnist  

Clark W. Nelson

Alvarez, Walter Clement (22 July 1884–16 June 1978), physician, medical researcher, and medical columnist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Luis Fernandez Alvarez, a physician, and Clementina Schuetze. When Alvarez was three, his family moved to Hawaii, where his father was a government physician in two isolated Oahu villages. Alvarez was eleven when his father established a Honolulu hospital for lepers and attempted to develop a serum to combat the disease. While assisting his father, Alvarez resolved to become a physician....


Cover Alvarez, Walter Clement (1884-1978)
Walter C. Alvarez. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B029601).


Anderson, Dave (6 May 1929–4 Oct. 2018), Pulitzer Prize winning sports columnist  

Bruce J. Evensen

Anderson, Dave (6 May 1929–4 Oct. 2018), Pulitzer Prize winning sports columnist, was born David Poole Anderson in Troy, New York, the only child of Robert Anderson, the advertising director of the Troy (N.Y.) Times, and Josephine (David) Anderson.

The Troy Times folded in ...


Anderson, Paul Y. (29 August 1893–06 December 1938), journalist  

James L. Aucoin

Anderson, Paul Y. (29 August 1893–06 December 1938), journalist, was born near Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of William Holston Anderson, a stonecutter, and Elizabeth Dill Haynes, a schoolteacher. Anderson was three years old when his father died in an accident, and his mother was left as sole support for him and his two young sisters. He worked his way through high school, and in 1911, at the age of eighteen, he began his career in journalism when he joined the staff of the ...


Antheil, George (1900-1959), composer and writer  

Alan H. Levy

Antheil, George (08 July 1900–12 February 1959), composer and writer, was born Georg Johann Carl Antheil in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Henry William Antheil, a merchant, and Wilhelmina Huse. Antheil’s parents were German immigrants who had done well enough to be able to afford him an economically secure childhood in Trenton. His musical training included private study in piano with Constantin von Sternberg in Philadelphia and from 1919 to 1921 with ...


Apple, R. W. (20 Nov. 1934–4 Oct. 2006), reporter and newspaper editor  

Bruce J. Evensen

Apple, R. W. (20 Nov. 1934–4 Oct. 2006), reporter and newspaper editor, was born Raymond Walter Apple, Jr. in Akron, Ohio, to grocer Raymond Walter Apple, Sr. and Julia (Albrecht) Apple. His parents expected that “Johnny” would follow his father and run the Acme supermarket chain in northern Ohio, but he discovered ...


Asbury, Herbert (1891-1963), journalist and popular historian  

A. J. Kaul

Asbury, Herbert (01 September 1891–24 February 1963), journalist and popular historian, was born in Farmington, Missouri, the son of Samuel Lester Asbury, a surveyor and city clerk, and Ellen N. Prichard. His grandfather and great-grandfather were Methodist ministers. Asbury claimed that his great-great uncle was ...


Bagby, George William (1828-1883), journalist and humorist  

Ritchie Devon Watson

Bagby, George William (13 August 1828–29 November 1883), journalist and humorist, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, the son of George Bagby, a merchant, and Virginia Young Evans. A frail constitution forced Virginia Bagby to move to the mountain town of Covington, where she died when George was eight years old. Bagby’s father, who owned a general merchandise store in Lynchburg, sent him and his younger sister to live on the Cumberland County plantation of their aunt, Elisabeth Hobson. In 1843, at the age of fifteen, Bagby entered Delaware College. He then studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1849....


Baker, Ray Stannard (1870-1946), journalist and author  

Dewey W. Grantham

Baker, Ray Stannard (17 April 1870–12 July 1946), journalist and author, was born in Lansing, Michigan, the son of Joseph Stannard Baker and Alice Potter. A descendant of pioneering stock, he grew up in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, where his family moved in 1875 and his father worked as a land agent. Baker later boasted that he had been brought up on the “last frontier.” His mother died in 1883, but his father, a Civil War veteran, strongly impressed Baker with his rugged character, integrity, and common sense. He attended the local schools, discovered the world of books in his parents’ library, and in 1885 enrolled at Michigan Agricultural College in East Lansing. In college Baker discovered a special liking for science courses and also edited the school newspaper. After receiving the B.S. degree in 1889, he returned home to work in his father’s land office. In January 1892 Baker entered law school at the University of Michigan but dropped out after a few months. Meanwhile, he became interested in journalism, partly as the result of a seminar at the university. In the summer of 1892 he found a job with the Chicago ...


Cover Baker, Ray Stannard (1870-1946)

Baker, Ray Stannard (1870-1946)  

Maker: Arnold Genthe


Ray Stannard Baker Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1914. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-0825).


Balderston, John Lloyd (1889-1954), dramatist and journalist  

James Ross Moore

Balderston, John Lloyd (22 October 1889–08 March 1954), dramatist and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Lloyd Balderston, a British doctor, and Mary Alsop, an American. He attended local Philadelphia schools. Early transatlantic travels prefigured his internationally varied career. In 1911 Balderston became the New York correspondent for the ...


Barrett, John (1866-1938), commercial publicist and diplomat  

Mark T. Gilderhus

Barrett, John (28 November 1866–17 October 1938), commercial publicist and diplomat, was born in Grafton, Vermont, the son of Charles Barrett and Caroline Sanford. His father, reportedly shy and withdrawn, served for a time as a town official and a Republican state legislator but devoted most of his life to artistic pursuits. His mother, who was more outgoing, had a lively regard for politics, law, journalism, theology, and economics, and Barrett’s letters to her suggest she strongly influenced him....